2022-2023 Catalog 
    Dec 09, 2023  
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Psychology in Marital and Family Therapy (69-unit)

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School: California School of Professional Psychology

Modality(ies): On-ground, online and hybrid

Calendar(s): Semester

CIP Code: 51.1505

Program Description/Overview

The COAMFTE accredited Post-Masters PsyD in MFT program provides the advanced training to pursue a career as a professional marriage and family therapist. To prepare for clinical practice, students receive intensive theoretical and practical skill-based training. Students gain real-world experience with a diverse clientele in community-based practicum and internship sites, under the oversight of supervisors who meet rigorous AAMFT professional standards. The program requires continuous active practice of marital and family therapy, including a doctoral internship.

The program requires completion of a minimum of 69 units. Doctoral students may go either full-time or part-time in completing the program. The standard graduation program completion time for full-time students is 3 years, and the maximum is 8 years. The standard completion time for part-time students is 6 years, the maximum completion time is 8 years.


The Medical Family Therapy (MedFT) Concentration

This concentration will prepare students to work in and with the medical health care system to help individuals, couples, and families struggling with medical issues. Students are taught to work systemically with the complex biological, psychological, relational, social, and spiritual dimensions of health care. They are trained to work with a variety of health care professionals and health care systems using collaborative, multidisciplinary, and multidimensional approaches to treatment. Graduates work in diverse settings including hospitals, clinics, and group and private practices. The curriculum includes three courses, which are to be taken as electives. The complete curriculum is offered online so students in all locations may take the courses. Students may take courses on-ground if offered.

Program Learning Outcomes/Goals

Program Goals (PGs)

  • PG 1 Practice: The CFT Program graduate students who are able to deliver CFT professional services competently
  • PG 2 Diversity: The CFT Program graduates diverse students prepared to meet the needs of diverse communities.
  • PG 3 Community: The CFT Program engages various communities through the application of the knowledge and skills of couple and family therapy.
  • PG 4 Scholarship: The CFT Program contributes to both the understanding and creation of couple and family therapy scholarship.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  • SLO 1 Practice Foundational Knowledge and Skills: Master’s and doctoral students comprehend and demonstrate CFT conceptual, perceptual, executive, evaluative, professional, and theoretical skills.
  • SLO 2 Diversity Knowledge and Skills: Master’s and doctoral students comprehend and demonstrate knowledge of human diversity with a multicultural and international emphasis.
  • SLO 3 Community Knowledge and Skills: Master’s and doctoral students comprehend and demonstrate knowledge of how to engage community behavioral health care resources.
  • SLO 4 Scholarship Foundation Knowledge and Skills: Master’s and doctoral students demonstrate a basic knowledge of CFT research methodologies and scholarship.
  • SLO 5 Practice Supervision Knowledge and Skills: Doctoral students comprehend models and methods of CFT supervision.
  • SLO 6 Practice Specific Knowledge and Skill: Doctoral students articulate and demonstrate the application of a personal CFT model of therapy.
  • SLO 7 Scholarship Application Knowledge and Skills: Doctoral students demonstrate the ability to understand and apply CFT research methods.

Training Model

The program is offered in Irvine, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego and leads to a Doctor of Psychology in Marital and Family Therapy degree. The program is based on the scholar-practitioner model. Students are trained to work with individuals, couples, and families from a systemic perspective. Skills are developed in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals and relationship systems. The program provides an integrative approach to the major systemic theories and interventions. The program provides the academic training for licensure as a marriage and family therapist.

Professional Behavior Expectations/Ethical Guidelines

AAMFT Code of Ethics


The CFT doctoral programs are designed to fulfill the programmatic requirements for licensure in California, and in some areas they exceed the requirements.

All marriage and family therapists who offer direct services to the public for a fee must be licensed or certified by the state in which they practice. Applicants for licensure in the state of California must hold an MA or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from an approved or accredited educational institution. They also must have completed 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience (of which at least 1,700 must be post masters) and have taken and passed the national Examination for Law and ethics and Clinical. In addition, they must submit evidence of having completed coursework in human sexuality, child abuse, substance abuse, spousal abuse, psychological testing, psychopharmacology, California Law and professional ethics and aging and long-term care. Continuing education is required to maintain the license.

Every state has its own requirements for licensure. Therefore, it is essential that all CSPP CFT PsyD students who plan to apply for licensure in states other than California contact the licensing board in those states for information on state requirements (e.g., coursework, practicum and internship hours, supervision, or nature of the doctoral project or dissertation). Students seeking licensure in other states should plan ahead to ensure they meet all of those states’ requirements.

For further information on licensure in California or other states contact:

Board of Behavioral Sciences
1625 N Market Blvd., #S200
Sacramento, CA 95834
BBS Main Phone Line: (916) 574-7830
BBS Email: BBS.info@dca.ca.gov

General Questions and Information Only: https://www.bbs.ca.gov/

Programmatic Accreditation

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) - and is one of only two universities in the state of California with a COAMFTE-accredited doctorate program. As the national accrediting body for MFT programs, COAMFTE accreditation ensures that you are receiving the highest quality education in the field of marriage and family therapy.

Internship, Practicum, and/or Dissertation Information

Practicum: The program includes the clinical requirements to bring students up the COAMFTE foundational training standards. This includes needing to passing the MA comprehensive exam (except if the student is currently licensed as an MFT). Practicum program requirements are described in the Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy  program description and in the Master’s Level Practicum Clinical Training Manual. The doctoral program requires that students are continuously involved in the practice of couple and family therapy.

Students must supplement their program with 100 hours of professional development activities; 25 of these hours may involve personal counseling or psychotherapy with a licensed mental health professional who is not core faculty at Alliant.

Students who completed a non-COAMFTE accredited MA program need to submit a Request for Waiver of Practicum Hours and may have some practicum hours/practicum courses to take, which must be taken in place of elective credits.

Waiver of Practicum Hours

  1. Should transfer students request to waive practicum hours, they must submit a completed Request for Waiver of Practicum Hours form (located on the CFT Student Hub) to the CTC.
  2. The decision to waive practicum hours will be based on the completion of this form with necessary documentation attached.
  3. Doctoral students who are either licensed MFTs or who have obtained master’s degrees from ALLIANT or other COAMFTE approved programs will not be required to do a practicum if their experience is evaluated to be equivalent to the practicum experience. Students will need to confirm with CTC and Branch Director the number of remaining units to be completed if a waiver of hours is granted.
  4. Requests for Waiver of Practicum Hours must be submitted prior to matriculation in order for the Student Advisor to create an accurate program plan. No more than 18 doctoral units may be completed prior to the practicum hours being completed.

Internship: To prepare doctoral level couple and family therapists to perform different professional and academic functions competently in their future workplace, and to comply with COAMFTE accreditation requirements, students are required to choose two components and have to complete their pre-degree internship in two semesters. Student can only choose a maximum of two core faculty supervisors. Each of the following option is 50% of the total internship. The internship must be a minimum of 9 months. This means all students must be registered for internship for Fall and Spring Semester. In some circumstances, a student may choose to also do internship during the summer. In this case, students should be aware that they will need to register for at least 3 semesters, and they must ensure that their faculty internship supervisor is available during the Summer. Students must be registered in internship until they have completed all internship requirements.

Dissertation: the dissertation is the capstone for the doctoral program. Students should start the dissertation sequence of classes either concurrently or after completion of the advanced research methods courses. Student who do not finish the dissertation after taking PSY99130  will go into dissertation extension: PSY99800 - MFT Dissertation Extension .

Credit Units

Total Credit Units: 69

Total Core Credit Units: 60

Total Elective Credit Units: 9

Total Concentration Credit Units: N/A

Credit for Previous Work

  1. Students must possess a master’s degree in MFT/CFT in order to enroll into the 69-unit PsyD in MFT program. 
  2. Students who completed a degree in a related field, such as LPCC or Social work, will likely need to enroll in the 114-unit PsyD in MFT. In the 114-unit program, they can transfer in up to 28 units. 
  3. Students who completed a non-COAMFTE accredited MA program need to submit a Request for Waiver of practicum hours and may have some practicum hours/practicum courses to take, which must be taken in place of elective credits.
  4. Students who completed the MA in MFT program at Alliant will be able to get credit for all classes taken in the master’s program that are required in the doctoral program, making their program only 54 units.
  5. Students who have completed a master’s degree in MFT may be able to transfer up to 12 units into the doctoral program, reducing the total from 69 to as low as 57 units.   

Degree Requirements

Doctoral students must successfully complete the MA Comprehensive examination to receive their degree. Doctoral students who completed a comprehensive exam as part of a COAMFTE accredited master’s program or are licensed MFTs do not need to take the test.

  1. Incoming PsyD students with a MA degree from COAMFTE accredited programs do NOT have to take our MA Comprehensive Exam.
  2. Incoming PsyD students with a MA degree from non-COAMFTE accredited programs who are not licensed in the field of MFT have to take and pass our MA Comprehensive Exam at the end of their first semester or the first semester after finishing required masters level classes.

Doctoral Exam: During the third year of the doctoral program, students take the doctoral exam. Once the student successfully passes the doctoral exam and defend the dissertation proposal the student is “Advanced to Candidacy.” Student must successfully pass the doctoral exam in order to defend their dissertation.

Emphasis/Concentration/Track Requirements

Elective Requirements

Nine elective units are required for completion of the program. The classes must be taken at Alliant International University or must have been transferred in at the beginning of the program. Students may take their elective classes either on-ground or online. However, they must take courses that are on the 15-week semester schedule. Elective courses (on-ground or online) must be pre-approved by the Branch Director or the Student Advisor.

Curriculum Plan

Semester Calendar

Academic Year 1 - Semester 3 (6 units)

Academic Year 2 - Semester 3 (6 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 1 (5 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 2 (4 units)


*Students that have earned their master’s degrees in other states and plan to be licensed in the state of California should take these classes as soon as possible.

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